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If you go

What: "In Nature's Realm," a York Symphony Orchestra performance

When: 7:30 p.m. Oct. 17

Where: Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center, 50 N. George St., York

Tickets: $9, $33, $39

Details: For more information, visit yorksymphony.org

Leaves are turning orange, pumpkin spice is in the air, and the York Symphony Orchestra is tapping into autumn vibes with its season opener, "In Nature's Realm."

The show starts the second season led by music director Lawrence Golan. Last year, the award-winning conductor and violinist sold out every performance. Starting off the season with a free concert helped that effort, he said, as well as offering a $9 seating option during the rest of the season.

Now, Golan hopes to build on that momentum with shows he said will appeal to both symphony devotees and those new to live orchestra.

"There is a misconception about classical music, and specifically orchestral music, that you have to understand it in order to appreciate it," Golan said. "It's simply exciting, wonderful, beautiful, passionate music that you could know nothing about, have never heard before, and you sit in the audience and hear this 80 piece live orchestra of musicians play the best music that's ever been written."

In Nature's Realm

The orchestra will begin the show with Antonio Vivaldi's "Autumn," part of the eighteenth-century composer's "Four Seasons" violin concertos. By fan request, Golan said, he'll put down the conductor's baton and pick up his violin for the piece. Fans might have already caught a glimpse of this if they attended his Aug. 22 solo performance at Central Market in York.

The concert also includes Antonin Dvorak's sweeping, 1891 overture, "In Nature's Realm," and Gustav Mahler's tumultuous 1909 symphony, "The Song of The Earth," with vocal performances by Katherine Pracht and Adam Klein.

Holiday pops spectacular

Golan said he wants Yorkers to start the holiday season at a show on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

The family-friendly concert includes sing-along favorites like "Frosty the Snowman" and nostalgic Christmas songs like "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas" and "Sleigh-ride."

The show will also pair 100 vocalists from the York Symphony Chorus with about 35 gospel singers from numerous area churches including Shiloh Baptist Church and Bible Tabernacle Christian Center in York.

Gospel singers Cindy and Jonathan Strawbridge said they worked with Golan to fuse gospel and chorus for renditions of songs including "Oh Happy Day," "Go Tell it on The Mountain" and "Oh Holy Night."

Cindy Strawbridge hopes the gospel will also broaden York Symphony Orchestra's audience by bringing in fans of African-American gospel music.

"The Strand is not necessarily just for one audience," she said. "We're hoping that by doing this collaboration, we're going to open it up to people from different walks of life."

Upcoming shows

Golan is also excited about other upcoming shows. "Piano Men," featuring singer-pianist Jim Witter, adds an orchestral flair to songs by Elton John and Billy Joel, focusing on their 1970s-era work.

"Beethoven in Buenos Aires" will be a highlight of the season, Golan said, as Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra's first chair violinist, David Kim, joins the orchestra to play Astor Piazzolla's "The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires." In keeping with the year's theme, Golan said, Piazzolla's compositions pay homage to Vivaldi's "Four Seasons," while exploring tango music.

For the full list of shows, visit the York Symphony Orchestra website yorksymphony.org .

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